Class AA Fox Lane Survives Carmel; Yorktown Nips Somers

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Class A Panas Socks Byram Hills; Hen Hud Moves on to Quarters

By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directrays
Walter Panas senior DH Randy Wiesner (9) slides in safely for run ahead of a desperate tag attempt by Byram Hills C James Cavallaro in the Panthers’ fourth-inning, seven-run explosion.

We’ve been saying ad nauseam in this space for weeks now – actually three-plus decades – that baseball, on any given day, is the most unpredictable sport of them all. You just never know, which is what keeps us coming back to Section 1 baseball year after year. The Section 1 Class AA tournament nearly saw two sides of the bracket completely busted when No.2 FOX LANE needed nine innings to dispose of No.15 CARMEL, 3-2, and No.6 YORKTOWN went down to the wire with No.11 SOMERS in a 2-1 Husker advance to last night’s quarterfinal round where they were set to play No. 3 Clarkstown North.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, with two outs and Alex Ornstein on third, Yorktown’s Brian White beat out an RBI infield single to give the Huskers (12-9) a 1-0 lead. Somers (8-12) struck back in the top of the sixth when Nick Conti stroked a game-tying RBI sac fly. Yorktown loaded up the bases, with two outs in the bottom half of the sixth when Ornstein was able to draw the go-ahead bases-loaded RBI walk to put the Huskers back in front of Tusker P John Barbagallo, who deserved a better fate after chucking 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. Erik Gersfeld was 2-for-3 and a run scored for the Tuskers.

With the lead in tow, Husker lefty Ryan DiNapoli closed out a complete game effort with a 1-2-3 seventh. DiNapoli needed just 89 pitches, allowing one run on four hits, whiffing five.

Fox Lane shortstop John Czerynk looks to turn a double play after getting a force at second base on Ketcham’s Owen Paino during last Tuesday’s regular-season ending 1-0 Fox loss to the host Storm.

“DiNapoli was lights out and has been dominant all year controlling both sides of the plate with three pitches he can throw for strikes,” Yorktown Coach CJ Riefenhauser said. “He’s got a bulldog mentality, doesn’t matter who’s in the box. He goes out there and competes.”

As did Carmel in a losing effort to Fox Lane, which was nearly forced to relive a 2007 nightmare when the then-15th-seeded Rams staged an epic upset of No.2 Fox Lane. This time, though, Coach Matt Hillis’ Foxes (14-7) rallied for two runs in the sixth inning to tie it at 2-all before a Logan Provost sac fly plated Will Rudolph with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Rudolph, who was hit by a pitch to open the inning, cruised into scoring position after Logan Mammola’s double to left put the Foxes in striking position. Mammola, a catcher with multiple tools, finished 4 for 5. Fox Lane ace Tyler Renz got the win with three scoreless frames of relief.  Foxes Peter Portugues and Cooper Furst each had an RBI each to tie it at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth, easing the pain of having left 11 men on base, including eight in the final three innings.

Carmel sophomore  P Casey Lowndes gave the Rams hope for a bright future, firing seven solid innings (1 earned run, 5 hits). Brian McGrory stroked two hits for the Rams (4-17), who played above their means in the playoffs, having been prepared by a slew of close losses against some of the finest competition in the state.

“This was our sixth loss by one run,” Rams skipper Joe Hackert said. “We just don’t hit enough. Lowndes pitched great for a sophomore. We got a big hit by Nick Kreatsoulas but just not enough to win. We started two freshmen and we graduate just one starting senior. I’m very proud of the way we battled and fought to the end.”

Fox Lane Coach Matt Hillis would not argue with that.

“Carmel played well,” the Fox skipper said. “If they beat us they definitely would have deserved it.”

Panas C Gianni Genovese hauls in a tough foul pop-up in Panthers’ 11-3 Class A opening-round playoff win over visiting Byram Hills Saturday.

What isn’t deserved is the fact that Yonkers-based schools like No.13 Lincoln, No.12 Yonkers and No.7 Saunders are offered “schedule relief” if/when they play in a non-Yonkers-based league, which Lincoln was granted by Section 1: Meaning they only have to play their league foes – Fox Lane, White Plains, Greeley, Port Chester and Ossining – just once, while the rest of the league members play each other twice. Any “league relief” should equal an automatic “do not qualify for playoffs”, or the lowest seed possible to enter. Those three Yonkers schools were crushed by a combined 41-2 score in the opening round of the Class AA playoffs. We don’t profess to have the answers in this space, but we know when something’s wrong when we see it. There has to be some kind of formula introduced that keeps the least competitive leagues as the lowest seeds, according to several coaches..

Fox Lane was forced to burn its No.1 and No.2 pitchers over 10 innings while facing No.15 Carmel, which was anything but a No.15 seed after facing the likes of Mahopac, RCK, Arlington and John Jay EF twice in league play; arguably the toughest league in the state. Truth be told, those Yonkers teams, which have morphed into traditionally less competitive programs over the years, should have lined up as No.16, 15 and 14 seeds for a more balanced format. Same holds true for any of the less competitive leagues. It’s above our pay grade but administrators need to take a look before the coaches go scorched earth on us.

Back to what’s right: HORACE GREELEY went on the road to No.8 Suferen where the ninth-seeded Quakers (9-9-2) wasted a superb pitching outing from Zach Bond in a 4-3 10-inning loss in Saturday’s opening round of the playoffs. Bond (9.0 IP, 2 earned runs, 6 hits, 5K, 2 BB) gave Greeley every chance to win, but outside of Ben Schulman (4-5, two 2B, RBI, run) and Aidan Dunleavy (2-5, 2B, two RBI) the Quakers could not get enough going offensively, leaving the Mounties to face No.1 MAHOPAC in last night’s quarterfinal round.

Yorktown’s Brian White slides in safely at second base as Somers IF John Robinson can’t field the throw in Huskers’ 2-1 Class AA opening round playoff win over Tuskers Saturday.

No.9 BREWSTER had it season come to an end in a 9-2 loss to No.3 Clarkstown North


No.4 WALTER PANAS led 3-0, got jabbed to the jaw by No.13 BYRAM HILLS, which tied it 3-3 at the end of three, before the defending Section 1 champion Panthers (15-6) landed a series of blows, including three fourth-inning yard bombs en route to a 13-3 opening round win over the visiting Bobcats (7-12-2).

Panas starter Alex Enea (4 IP, 3 runs, 4 hits, 5 K, 1 BB) worked the first four frames for the win while big Ryan Chenard (4K) worked the final three for the save. Support came in all forms, including Nick DiMaso (3-4, two doubles, RBI, run), Nick Caputo (2-3, home run, two RBI), Jordan Fiore (3-5, home run, RBI, three runs), Jacob Malfant (2-2, two RBI, two runs) and Dean Sewall (2-3, home run, two RBI).

The Bobcats, rich in baseball history but working through some coaching changes, battled for three innings behind a pair of dingers from Ben Rothenberg ( 1-2, 2 RBI) and Dylan Ettinger (1-3), but it wasn’t nearly enough to keep the Panthers from moving on to face No.5 Rye in last night’s classic quarterfinal.

No.10 HEN HUD went across the river to upset No.7 Pearl River with the reward being another trip across the Hudson to face No.2 Nanuet in last night’s quarterfinals. The Sailors lost to Nanuet in the top seventh, 5-4, just a week ago.

All-League Sailor P Derek Deresh (6 IP) has been the co-ace with All-Section P Max Lipton, and he delivered in a big way against the Pirates.

Carmel first baseman Jagger Scaperotti awaits a late throw on a pickoff attempt as Fox Lane’s Zach Goldman dives back to the bag in Saturday’s Class AA first-round playoff game hosted by the Foxes.

“They basically have had identical stats, both with ERAs under 2.50,” Sailor skipper Van Vourliotis said.

All-Section and League MVP Tyler Muranaka came in to close the game like he has all season, lowering his ERA under 1.50. Sailor catcher Jack Hiltsley went 3-3 and scored twice.

“Jack really was the catalyst for our offense and the middle of the lineup was able to drive in three big runs for us in the top of the sixth to give us some breathing room.

“We may be the ten seed but we have believed all season we can beat anyone on any day,” the coach added. “We had four games where we gave up leads late in the sixth or seventh inning where if we won two or three of those, we would be a top five seed. We may not have a flashy name, or a guy that throws 90, or a guy that is going D1 like other teams but I’d say the one thing we have for one another is love. We genuinely love each other and it shows in practice, on the field, and off the field.”

In his 10th season (including school and travel with this group), Coach V has formed an extremely close unit and created a culture of hard work, accountability and respect.

“We’ve practiced in 90 degrees in July, we’ve played fall games, and we’ve practiced in 30 degrees on the football turf at 8pm at the high school,” Vourliotis said. “This is a group that just loves being around one another. They let me coach them hard, they know what we expect, and our goal is just do our job to the best of our ability. We have 2.5 hour practices every day and the majority of them are there 30 minutes before practice and 30 minutes after practice just doing their thing and being around this family they have created over the last few years. My assistant coaches Joe Bruno and John Schrader (from Briarcliff) are amazing and have been a huge help taking on extra responsibility this year that has really helped our team overall.”

Carmel second baseman Alex Luppino slaps a tag on Fox Lane’s Zach Goldman to easily cut down a stolen-base try during Saturday’s Class AA playoff game. The 15th -seeded Rams nearly pulled a big upset, but fell 3-2 in extra innings.

The Sailors are a win away from the semifinals, a place they haven’t been since 2006.

No. 9 Pelham eliminated No.8 host LAKELAND, 6-2, thus ending a rebuilding season for the Hornets (9-11-1).

No.6 John Jay-Cross River worked a 10-0 shoutout of No.11 BRIARCLIFF, which finished off a 10-11 season in disappointing fashion.


No.10 VALHALLA went down to No.7 Bronxville and waxed the Broncos, 11-2, behind a masterful effort from starting P Fabian Resika (7 IP, 1 earned run). Connor Hayes (3-4), Kori Prosperino, Dylan Carbone, Leo Dragone, Resika and Aidan Menendez had two hits apiece and wrought havoc around the sacks as the Vikings (8-12-1) advanced to last night’s quarterfinal game against No.2 Magnus. No.3 CROTON-HARMON, No.4 PLEASANTVILLE and No.5 PUTNAM VALLEY all received a bye with P’Ville and PV set to square off last night in what should be a wild quarterfinal.

No.9 Pawling eliminated No.8 WESTLAKE, 5-0, ending the Wildcats’ season at 8-12.


Byram Hills 3B Harry Goldin barely gets tag down on Panas’ Nick Caputo in Bobcats’ 11-3 opening round Class A playoff loss to host Panthers Saturday.

No.7 WHITE PLAINS advanced to the quarterfinals after a 5-3 win over No.10 Port Chester behind the craftsmanship of P Sam Mendez and defensive gems by Sean DeBernardo. The bats of Tyler Older, Gavin Townsend, along with youngsters Sam Kinisky and Sean Krouskoff enabled the Tigers (10-11) to face No.2 Arlington last night.

No.4 OSSINING, which had a first round bye, was set to take on No.5 Mamaroneck last night with the winner likely facing No.1 RCK (or North Rock if an upset) in Wednesday’s semis.



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